Jamon Jamon (1992)
Director: Bigas Luna
I don't really know what to say about Jamon Jamon. I really enjoy watching Penelope Cruz, she is a very good actress who chooses interesting roles. This was her film debut, and perhaps the best thing I can say is that it shows how natural she was in front of the camera from an early stage (it clearly loves her).
I think some parts of this film got lost in translation; not literally, but it is a comedy and satire about Spanish society at a particular time, and I am guessing that a lost of it went over my head. The performances are good, but the characters are not terribly deep, and were people I didn't really want to spend too much time with. They treat each other terribly, with Cruz's Silvia being lusted over by three men who exploit her.
It is a very physical film, with the word lusty barely covering the way characters approach life. Sex and food (particularly the titular ham) are equated, as the men and women consume each other as they consume food (though not at the same time). Some of the scenes are now tinged with voyeurism as Cruz and Javier Bardem, who are now married in real life, flirt and eventually have very public sex.
This was not a bad film, just one I didn't enjoy watching. Though not as explicit as Cuaron's Y tu Mama Tambien, another film that seeks to capture the intersection of a country's history and present (Mexico), it doesn't have the melancholy and even joy that underpins most the sex scenes in Cuaron's film. It also lacks the sympathy of Almodovar's films, which tempers the outrageous lives of his characters.